Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – October 31, 2015

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have turned this into a competitive World Series. Was Curtis Granderson’s homer the turning point?

Meanwhile Juan Uribe is back in the World Series where he belongs. And Raul Mondesi’s son did in zero regular season games what his father couldn’t do in 13 seasons: Play in the World Series.

BOO! It is the Halloween episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

David Wright, Noah Syndergaard and Salvador Perez all added to their totals of Who Owned the World Series and Who Owned October (WOWS and WOO).

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ANDRES TORRES – Sully Baseball Unsung Post Season Hero for October 31

Tim Sharp/Reuters

Tim Sharp/Reuters

OCTOBER 31, 2010 – World Series Game 4

Andres Torres is one of those players that a fan base loves disproportionately to their stats.

A casual look at his career shows he was a journeyman minor leaguer with some cups of coffee in the big leagues before earning a starting job with the Giants while in his 30’s.

He had one good full season and followed that up with 3 nondescript seasons before seeing his career end in the minors.

Bring his name up among Giants fans and see them light up. Still a fan favorite at AT&T Park, he cemented his status of permanently loved Giant when they played on Halloween, 2010.

The Giants won a hotly contested NL West title over a surprising Padres squad. After beating Atlanta in the Division Series, they stunned the heavily favored two time defending NL Champion Phillies in the NLCS.

Bruce Bochy’s squad was filled with solid starting pitching, led by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, and an outrageously deep bullpen, anchored by eccentric Brian Wilson. They would face the Rangers in a World Series of snake bitten franchises.

The Giants took the first two in San Francisco but Texas won Game 3. The fourth game was a showdown between two young pitchers who shone that regular season. Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter was 23 years old, had the best winning percentage in the American League after going 13-4 and threw to a 3.73 ERA. The Giants threw 21 year old rookie Madison Bumgarner. He would show up again in subsequent Octobers.

The Rangers hoped that with a win, they could hand the ball to Cliff Lee to get a 3-2 lead. The Giants knew a Game 4 win would mean handing the ball to Lincecum with a chance to clinch.

The Giants leadoff man was Andres Torres. He had been drafted back in 1998 by the Tigers but never caught on in Detroit. He played 19 games for the Tigers in 2002, 59 in 2003 and 3 in 2004 before making an 8 game cameo for Texas in 2005 and returning to the minors.

After bouncing around between the Twins, Cubs and Tigers again, Torres landed with the Giants in 2009 and stayed with the big league club for most of the season.

In 2010, he started 124 games, making the most of the playing time opened up with injuries to Mark DeRosa and Aaron Rowand. Torres won the Willie Mac Award, given to the Giant who showed the greatest leadership and spirit on the Giants. On a roster filled with beloved San Francisco stars, that was quite an honor.

The leadership, and more importantly the bat, of Torres was on display in the World Series. He led off Game 4 with a single and stole second. He would not score but he was setting the tone for the game.

He led off the third with a double and would score on Aubrey Huff’s homer. Meanwhile, Bumgarner held the Rangers scoreless inning after inning.

In the 7th, the score was still 2-0 Giants. A modest Texas rally would tie the game. With 2 outs in the top of the 7th and Edgar Renteria on first, Torres stepped up to the plate again.

He lined a double to centerfield on the second pitch and Renteria came all the way around to score. Now the Giants had a 3-0 lead. Bumgarner and Wilson would make it stand as the final was 4-0.

Torres final line was 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, a run scored and another knocked in. The Giants would clinch the next day. For the series, Torres batted .318 with an OPS of .984. Not bad for a career minor leaguer.

Eventually, Torres was dealt to the Mets for Angel Pagan, who would go on to become a World Champion Giant himself. Torres returned to San Francisco in 2013. He hasn’t played in the bigs since.

But he will always be a beloved World Champion Giant and his worth will go beyond the box score. That makes him the Unsung Post Season Hero for October 31.

MITCH MORELAND – Sully Baseball Unsung Post Season Hero For October 30

 (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News) 10312010xSPORTS

(Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

When the 2010’s began, the World Series was a match up against two franchises not known for their October magic. The Giants had not won it all since 1954, when they called New York their home. The Rangers had only won one post season GAME going into 2010.

The Giants took control of the 2010 World Series early, but it was rookie Mitch Moreland’s bat that gave the Rangers life.

Texas won 14 of 15 in June to storm into first place. And unlike a lot of previous Rangers squads, Ron Washington’s team did not fade in the Lone Star State heat. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young provided the offense and Cliff Lee was picked up in midseason to boost the rotation.

Then in October, the confronted many of their post season demons. First they ended their 9 game playoff losing streak. They eliminated a tough Tampa Bay team to advance to their first ever ALCS. There they faced their nemesis, the Yankee. 6 games later, Hamilton and company eliminated the defending World Champs and finally went to the World Series.

But the Giants took the first two games and the Rangers returned to Arlington in a hole. The Giants pitching was dominant after upsetting the Phillies. Tim Lincecum got off to a rocky start in Game 1 but settled down to win it. Matt Cain dominated Game 2.

Game 3 pitted Colby Lewis and Jonathan Sanchez. The Giants deep bullpen was rested and the Rangers knew they had to get to Sanchez early to have a shot to make the world Series competitive.

The inconsistent left hander pitched around a single in the first and retired Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero.

In the bottom of the second, the Rangers got a lead off double from Nelson Cruz but it looked like it would go to waste when Ian Kinsler and Jeff Francoeur grounded out. After a walk to Bengie Molina, the Rangers sent up their number 9 hitter, Mitch Moreland.

Moreland was a 24 year old rookie who played only 47 games for the Rangers in 2010. The only reason he was the every day first baseman was because highly touted prospect Justin Smoak was sent packing to Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal. Moreland’s solid season in minor league Oklahoma City earned him a spot. Normally first base would be the spot for a slugging veteran. But Ron Washington trusted Moreland with the job.

He rewarded his manager with a .389 average in the ALCS. He was 3 for 5 over the first two World Series games. So clearly, he was not a typical number 9 hitter.

With the count 2 and 2 and Sanchez a pitch away from getting out of another inning, Moreland fouled off pitch after pitch. On the 9th pitch of the at bat, he lined it into the right field stands. The Rangers were up 3-0.

They added a fourth run and then hung on as a Giants comeback fell short and the Rangers won 4-2.

It would be Texas’ final hour as the Giants used Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson to shut down their mighty attack and take the series in 5. But with one hard fought for at bat, the Rangers had hope in the series. It was a moment lost in the end results of the series but not lost on this author.

That makes him the Unsung Post Season Hero of October 30.